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Ladies Lead Off Fastest growing segment of new golfers

In this issue: The Heather is Course of the Year Moonlight Run Wins Player Development Leadership Award Government Affairs Updates Website ADA Compliance how to’s

Megan Purves of The Emerald Golf Course in St. Johns helps out LPGA golf professional Patti Butcher at last year’s League Ladies Day Out event.

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Government, Golf and Grayling by BOB KOUTNIK, MGCA President Government To quote the great Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out there?” Trump and Pelosi. The media and Hollywood attacking a bunch of Kentucky high school kids. A new congresswoman that needs her mouth washed out with soap, another that wants to raise the tax rate to 70%. And she has been put on the committee that oversees Wall Street. What can possibly go wrong there. Nancy and Chuck have armed security and build walls around their homes and lock every door and window 3 times to keep everyone out but want to open the doors to our country with no limitations. People with power in Washington using workers like pawns in a game of chess. More than ever we need to keep a sharp eye on what’s going on around us and in Washington and Lansing. Another quote, this one Jimmy Buffet. Actually its one of Tee Off Times is published 4 times a year by the Michigan Golf Course Association. Opinions expressed by guest writers do not necessarily reflect the views of the MGCA. For information on Tee Off Times please contact us at

his song titles. ‘We’ve Got A Lot To Drink About.’ Worth a listen but I think Jimmy needs to add a new chorus now. By the way to all of the MGCA Board members, Jimmy is the house band on my Island.

Community College will be opening their 2nd building on their new Grayling campus. The first one was for Health Services. The new one will have several new and updated curriculums including forest products to train for

“I take a little pride in every Pure Michigan commercial I hear and please let no one else do the narration of those commercials other than Michigan’s own Tim Allen. Ever.” Golf As we start a new year we do so always being optimistic. Perfect weather for our outings, an early spring and a late fall. All of our leagues will be full and play every scheduled round. Rain 3 times a week and only at night. Wait, what was that? GM is closing some plants and laying people off? Wall Street needs an Alka Seltzer? How this impacts our year remains to be seen. Maybe the job market will remain strong and the laid off workers will find good jobs quickly. We can only hope. In our part of the state the job market seems strong for once. Arauco, a company from Chile has opened a particle board production plant in Grayling that will employ 230 workers with good paying jobs. Kirtland

the new jobs in our area. Weyerhaeuser has just completed a major renovation. Several new trucking and truck repair facilities are moving in to support the new plants. In Grayling plans continue for the new Northern Market farm produce facility which will also act as a distribution hub between northern farmers and downstate markets. Detroit’s own Eastern Market looks to be a partner in this endeavor. I hope this story of growth repeats throughout Michigan. It really is a fantastic part of the country to live. I take a little pride in every Pure Michigan commercial I hear and please let no one do the narration of those commercials other than Michigan’s own Tim Allen. Ever. Continued on page 17

Board of Directors President

Vice President


Past President

Kathy Aznavorian Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center

Toni Joers Concord Hills Larry Moore U.S. Golf Cars Bill Mory Meridian Sun Golf Course

Steve Ramey Chisholm Hills

Jim Szilagyi The Lynx Golf Club

Tom Schwark Sycamore Hills

Susan Vanderburg Indian Lake Hills

Bob Koutnik Fox Run Country Club

Corey Crowell Indian River Golf Course Bernie Friedrich Boyne USA Jeff Hoag Scott Lake Country Club

Gilda Johnson Lake Forest Golf Club

Jim Dewling Total Golf Inc.

Bill Fountain Majestic at Lake Walden

Jon Scott Gull Lake View

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Houghton Lake’s Gordon LaFontaine, Bernie Friedrich of Boyne Honored by MGCA Gordon LaFontaine, a Houghton Lake Golf Course owner and former executive director of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, received the W. Bruce Matthews Lifetime Achievement Award, and Bernie Friedrich, vice-president of golf and resort sales for Boyne Resorts, received the Lyle Leeke Distinguished Service Award for 2018 at the Michigan Golf Course Association’s Golf Business Annual Conference & Vendor Fair. LaFontaine, who owns Pine View Highlands Golf Course and retired last year  after 37 years with the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF), called the MTF the best of its kind in the world.

Boyne’s Heather Golf Course is the Michigan Golf Course of the Year and the 2019 National Golf Course Owners Association’s Golf Course of the Year.

Kate Moore, former executive director of the MGCA is flanked by honorees Gordie LaFontaine and Bernie Friedrich.

Clockwise: Treetops Resort’s Joe Charles was awarded the Dul Family Player Development Leadership award from Kathy Dul Aznavorian, owner of Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center.

“I can’t thank you enough for this award,” he said. “I’m a guy who was able to do what I love to do, and I’m proud I was able to be of service to you.“ Friedrich, a PGA professional who has worked for 43 years with Boyne, said he was humbled and honored. “I’m fortunate to work with an organization that not only lets us go out and work with organizations and associations like this in the community, but encourages us to do that,“ he said. “That means a lot to us. Our golf staff and agronomy staff have a passion for our business and our mission. Without them I couldn’t do anything.“ Boyne President Steven Kircher, the son of Boyne founder Everett Kircher, praised Friedrich for bringing service to Boyne and also accepted the MGCA Golf Course of the Year Award that went to The Heather course at Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs. Folds of Honor creator, Major Dan Rooney, who is also an owner of Grand Haven Golf Club, was honored with the Award of Merit by the MGCA.

Brenda Velandra, the MGCA’s Educational Support Foundation chair, awards a grant to Mark Runchey of Fox Hills for his Moonlight Run program (see page 9). Major Dan Rooney of the Folds of Honor was presented with the Award of Merit.

Joe Charles of Treetops Resort in Gaylord and Kelly Plaisier of Thousand Oaks Golf Club in Grand Rapids were winners of the 2018 Dul Family Player Development Leadership Award, each receiving an award of $750. Mark Runchey, the director of golf at Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center in Plymouth, was honored with the 2018 John Dodge Carpe Diem Award for his “Moonlight Run” program. 5



Bill Mory joins MGCA Board of Directors PGA Professional, golf teacher and coach since 1985, Bill Mory has been elected to the MGCA board of directors. After serving as Director of Golf and General Manager at Walnut Hills Country Club in East Lansing, Michigan, Bill and his wife Karen purchased Pine Lake Golf Course in Haslett, MI in 1999, renaming it Meridian Sun Golf Club, adding both a practice range and short game practice facili- Mory ties. Bill has served the Michigan PGA as Junior Golf Chairman, Tournament Chairman, Board Member, Western Chapter President and Growth of the Game Chair. He is the Haslett High School girls and boys’ golf teams coach and lead the boys team to the state championship in five consecutive years, finishing runner

up twice and State Champion in 2006. As a player he has competed in state and national events including several PGA and Senior PGA Professional National Championships, the PGA Tour’s Buick Open and the 2012 United States Senior Open. Bill is a member of Kiwanis Club of Haslett/Okemos, St. Martha Knights of Columbus, Meridian Area Business Association. He and Karen are franchisees with Aunties Anne’s Hand Rolled Soft Pretzels and have two Lansing area locations. What is that saying? If you want something done, ask a busy guy! Well that’s what we did. Welcome to the board, Bill.

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MGCA announces League Ladies “Day Away” events for 2019 After last year’s successful event at the Emerald in St. Johns, and to further the mission of getting more golfers to play more golf while focusing on the fastest growing segment of our industry, the Michigan Golf Course Association’s Golf League Championship program is continuing with the League Ladies Day Away. “Top teacher, Patti Butcher, will dispel commonly held myths about the golf swing, freeing you up to improve immediately!” Women can sign up now for the MI Golf League Championship’s League Ladies Day Away, two events at two locations. First up, July 21st at Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center in Plymouth. Check in starts at noon with a 1:00pm shotgun. Have your customers grab a partner and come out for a fun day of golf. This fun event includes 9 holes of golf scramble and a skills clinics facilitated by renowned golf instructor Patti Butcher. Playing contests with great prizes and a reception with plenty of hors d’oevres (cash bar) at the conclusion. The second event will be on August 4th at the Lynx GC in Otsego. $55 per player in two person teams. All golfers must be registered in the MI Golf League Network. The MGCA is excited to announce our sponsors for this event: Boyne USA, Crystal Mountain Resort and Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center. Thank you.

Sunday, Jul. 21 at Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center, Plymouth

at The Lynx GC, Otsego

Patti is the owner and operator of Patti Butcher Golf Enterprises, located at Scott Lake Golf & Practice Center in Grand Rapids. The 2010 LPGA National Golf Professional of the Year and two-time LPGA Midwest Teacher of the Year (2002, 2006). Twice named to Golf Digest’s list of the “50 Best Women Teachers in America,” Butcher started the nationally ranked women’s program at Grand Valley State University and served as the Division II representative for the NCAA Golf Committee. She specializes in on-course instruction and working with students of all skill levels to meet their scoring goals.

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For Mark Versteeg, Director of Golf, Island Hills Golf Club in Sturgis , the decision to sign up for MGCA’s new credit card processing program through Michigan Retailers Association was an easy one. Not only is his golf course saving money by processing with MGCA, the switch from his current processor was quick and hassle-free. “They did everything they said they would — save us money every month and make it extremely easy to switch from our previous processor,” said Versteeg.

Program administered by Michigan Retailers Services, Inc., a registered Independent Sales Organization for Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA. Michigan Retailers Services, Inc. is a member in good standing of the Electronic Transactions Association.


“When MGCA decided to offer members a credit card processing program, it turned out to be an easy decision on which processor to select,” said Jada Paisley, executive director of the MGCA. “Michigan Retailers stood out from the others. We’re encouraging all of our members to check out our new program by asking for a free, no-obligation analysis and quote.” www.MichiganGCA.ORG


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MOONLIGHT RUN at FOX HILLS wins John Dodge Carpe Diem Award for Entrepreneurship Create an event that doesn’t involve a golf ball, soccer ball or a couple getting married. That was the goal that Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center ownership tasked their staff with in 2018. Mark Runchey, director of golf at Fox Hills is married to a runner who participates in fun running events and had run the golf course with her on a few occasions. He thought it would be a perfect fit to host a run on the golf course. His first step was to buy a new pair of Nike’s and sign up for his first 5K, since he had no clue how to execute this type of event. After that first race, Mark realized that if the Fox Hills run was going to be successful he needed to partner with run experts. Mark reached out to Kona Running Company, who hosts a handful of runs in Metro Detroit, to pitch the idea. It was a hit and they just couldn’t believe they hadn’t thought to venture from city streets to a golf course before. As soon as that meeting ended the planning process began. Most organized runs happen in the morning when runners are fresh and on weekends when runners are available. This also happens to be the same timeframe that golfers golf. This typical race format would have had too big an impact on the everyday golf and banquet business. It was decided on a September Saturday at sunset when a University of Michigan home football game would ensure that the afternoon would be light on tee times. By partnering with the Kona Running Company, Fox Hills was able to use Kona’s resources and database of 35,000 runners to email weekly for the 20 weeks leading up to the run. All runners received a t-shirt, a glow in the dark finisher medal, a beer, pop, or wine and a mac and cheese bar buffet. September 22, 2018 quickly joined their record books as being one of the highest in capacity of guests to date by adding 800 runners for the Moonlight Run on the Golden Fox! This new event exposed runners to the Fox Hills property and everything Fox Hills has to offer. It also generated $7,200 for Fox Hills at an off-peak time of day. To put that in to golf terms, Fox Hills would have had to do 195 twilight golfers to generate the same amount of revenue. Overall, it was a runaway success and we are shooting for 1500 runners next year!

The staff at Fox Hills along with Kona Running Company created a superior event with loads of fun and excitement. From Start to finish there was fitness, fun and fabulous food.





Jack Nicklaus to headline GAM Centennial Celebration

FARMINGTON HILLS – Golf legend Jack Nicklaus will headline a gala Golf Association of Michigan Foundation fundraiser at Oakland Hills Country Club in June to help honor the association’s centennial. The GAM 100 CELEBRATION on Monday, June 17, will include golf on the famed South Course, with proceeds benefitting the GAM Foundation, including its efforts to grow the game through its Youth on Course initiative. Nicklaus, 79, returns to where he won the 1991 U.S. Senior Open on the South Course in a playoff with Chi Chi Rodriguez, and where 30 years earlier he finished fourth in the 1961 U.S. Open as a 21-year-old amateur. Nicklaus will take part in a special program and celebration dinner, as well as a VIP meet-and-greet session. Opportunities and donation levels to take part in the celebration events, including golf, will be announced soon. The Monday of the GAM 100 CELEBRATION is also the final practice day for the 108th Michigan Amateur Championship that Oakland Hills is hosting across the street on the North Course over the following five days. The celebration is one of the highlights that will mark the GAM’s centennial this summer. A special

centennial Annual Meeting in April is planned, and a new executive director will also be named this year. “Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer of all-time and it will be great to have him back at Oakland Hills,” said David Graham, who will retire in June as the longest tenured executive director of the GAM with 18 years of service. “It’s a special spot for him. His history of championship golf is unparalleled, and then you must add to that what he has contributed to the game as a golf course designer, businessman, brand, and philanthropist. He has three great golf courses he designed in Michigan–TPC of Michigan, Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor and The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort– and he has epitomized a level of excellence for me and many of Michigan’s golfers over the years.” On April 22 at Detroit Golf Club – one of the GAM’s original 14-member clubs and the site of the PGA TOUR’s return to Michigan for the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic – the GAM will present its Annual Meeting of Club Delegates. Mark Reinemann, USGA Executive Committee member and Chairman of the 2018 Rules of Golf Committee, will be the guest speaker, and both classic Donald Ross courses at DGC will be available for golf that day.

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Golf is the Greatest Game – Everyone is Invited to Play! by KEVIN HELMS, Executive Director, Michigan PGA The Michigan PGA is in the process of evolving our foundation and re-branding it as the Michigan PGA REACH Foundation. As part of this transition we are also expanding the scope and mission of the foundation to focus on three main pillars – junior golf, military, and diversity & inclusion. Focusing on these three main areas will align us with the mission of PGA of America’s PGA REACH Foundation and position us to make the game more inclusive. Studies have shown the greatest potential to grow the game in the coming years is with women, seniors, and people of diverse backgrounds. In short, the game of golf is for everyone and it is all of our responsibility to open the doors and welcome all to the game. This may sound simple, but those of us in the golf industry need to take a step back and look at what the industry looks like to those who have not traditionally participated. A few key facts: - The golf industry’s workforce, including PGA Membership, is demographically homogenous. The boards, senior leadership and full time staff are 95%, 97% and 86% Caucasian (respectively).

Right: Michigan PGA staff Hannah Marcusse, Diane Lazaros, Chelsea Guoynes and Anna Epkey. Below: PGA WORKS Fellow Hannah Marcusse with the PGA HOPE Battle Creek participants.

to make a determined effort to become more diverse in our hiring practices. Admittedly, the PGA has a long way to go in this area, but through programs like PGA WORKS we are starting to make a difference. PGA WORKS is a program that funds year-long fellowships for people of diverse backgrounds to work in PGA Section offices and earn practical experience in the golf industry. As this program grows, the result will be a deep bench of skilled employees looking to continue their career in the golf industry. At the Michigan PGA we are fortunate to have a PGA WORKS Fellow working in our office and plan to have our second fellow join us in May. Every facility and organization is different, but we can all find ways to be more diverse and inclusive. Let’s all lead by example and make it a goal in 2019 to make Michigan golf a welcoming place for all to work, play and engage.

- 92% of the United States population growth from 2000-2014 came from multicultural groups. - With a combined spending power of $3.5 trillion among Black American, Asian American and Hispanic Americans, the economic spending power and influence of multicultural audiences continues to grow - The under 18 demographic is projected to be America’s last generation with a Caucasian majority. To be truly welcoming and open to all, our staff and leadership need to resemble that of the general population. People are more likely to connect and engage when they see or are among people that look like they do. In order for this to happen, we all need 11




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It’s not Your Fault! by STEWART HEALEY, President, Handicomp The number of golfers with USGA handicaps at courses has been shrinking, and I’m telling you it’s not your fault! Beginning next year the USGA will seal the deal on its handicapping monopoly by requiring courses like yours to join or remain members of their Allied Golf Assn (here in Michigan the GAM) in order to offer USGA Handicaps to their golfers. But, rather than get into the politics of handicapping I’m going to lay out the economics, how it’s affected your course, and what you can do. A central characteristic of all monopolies is that they are profit maximizers (Google “monopolies maximize profit”); their level of output is found by equating their marginal revenue with their marginal

($30-$100) a year for a USGA handicap; because they feel they need it (and maybe they do). AGA’s know this so they’ve made those golfers their target market (they make up around 10% of the total market of golfers). More importantly, it’s the reason the number of golfers with USGA handicaps has gone down across this country and it isn’t because non-championship (recreational) golfers don’t want a handicap. That’s the story; it’s why there are fewer golfers with a USGA handicap. It’s not your fault; it’s the product of a monopoly. Interestingly, there is a side effect; the salvageable void left by golfers who’ve abandoned the USGA system and those who chose never to start. So, one can say it hasn’t been a course’s fault there are fewer handicapped golfers, but it could be if there’s a solution to fill the void that isn’t addressed. So, what can courses (you) do? Well, here in Mich-

cost, which also resolves their pricing. It’s not necessarily evil, it’s just their nature. In effect, monopolies search for the price that generates the greatest overall profit (their sweet spot); knowing the sale of one more or one fewer unit will have a negative impact on their maximum profit. If you think I’m pulling your leg, over the past two decades efforts to monopolize (to which I’ve been party) have resulted in a 30-40% reduction in the number of golfers with a USGA handicap, but also a dramatic increase in profits to AGA’s; and now that the USGA has guaranteed extra protections in 2020, AGA’s are emboldened more than ever and many are raising their prices substantially. In fact, in a neighboring state an AGA has just increased their per golfer rate from $18 to $30 (an increase of 67%)! Do you think that will result in more AGA golfers with USGA handicaps? I think not! Do you think it will result in greater AGA profits? I think so! Essentially, there is a large group of private club and championship golfers who will pay a premium

igan you can’t change the GAM’s embrace of the USGA’s further efforts to monopolize, but you do have an option. The GAM only has a monopoly on USGA handicapping to which they’re married, which means there is opportunity with alternative handicapping systems; for example the Recreational Golf Handicap System. Without using space to make a list of pros and cons, it’s a given that a robust handicapping service benefits both courses and their golfers, so there is no disagreement against offering a service. In actual fact your non-championship golfers will embrace a quality handicapping system that is easy, affordable, and accepted within your club; even though it’s not USGA. Therefore, complement your USGA offering (if you have one) with a system priced to attract golfers rather than repel them. I’ve seen many courses like yours service 100-200 golfers with non-USGA handicaps and yours could easily be one. Promote the system(s), give your golfers a choice, and your numbers will grow; despite the monopoly! Guaranteed! 13



Legislative Update by BRIAN CALLEY, President, Small Business Association of Michigan Since joining the team at SBAM so that it will gradually rise to $12.05 by 2030. The in early January, I’ve been thinking next increase is to $9.45 in late March. a lot about how far our state has Also included in this proposal: elimination of the come since the “lost decade”. minimum wage’s adjustment to the Consumer Price The overall statistics are very Index (CPI) and the maintenance of the current impressive, but that’s only part of tipped credit with a gradual tipped wage increase to the story. Behind all those numbers $4.58 an hour by 2030. are thousands of entrepreneurs who are putting their reputation and capital on the Paid Sick Leave line every day. Also passed in December 2018 was the Paid Sick The success of the golf industry is the perfect Leave mandate. Exempt from this mandate are picture of what makes our state so amazing. While employers with fewer than 50 employees, seasonal big businesses typically employees, variable-hour get the headlines, we employees, part-time know that most job employees, Independent creation in our state Contractors, high-salary comes from companies employees, employees that have fewer than 100 covered by collective employees. The beauty bargaining agreements, and the splendor of the flight deck crews and Michigan landscape are employees who primarily second to none. I cannot work outside of the state. think of a better image for our state than the Here’s how it works: industry that is literally • Requires a company to integrated into Pure provide 40 hours of paid Michigan. earned sick time (one We at the Small hour of paid leave for Business Association of every 35 hours worked, Michigan are proud to but maxed out at 1 hour partner with you and of leave per week). are fully vested in your Brian Calley and Tom Schwark at Michigan Golf Day on the Lawn. • Allows businesses to success. And part of that front-load paid earned success requires that we all stay well informed about sick time to avoid dealing with the accrual process upcoming changes that affect our businesses. Here internally. are a few things you need to know. • Employees immediately accrue paid sick leave A flurry of activity in the legislature in December hours, but cannot use that time until after 90 days 2018 has resulted in new laws around Michigan’s of employment. minimum wage and paid sick leave. Add in the • Sick leave can be used if the employee, dependent, legalization of recreational marijuana and you’ve got spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, or grandchild a set of compliance issues that need to be addressed is sick. on a business level and as an employer. Here is a • An eligible employee shall, when requesting to brief overview of the new laws and how they will use paid sick leave, comply with his or her employer’s impact Michigan employers. Be sure to review your usual and customary notice, procedural, and workplace policies, make necessary adjustments and documentation requirements for requesting leave. share any new policies with your employees. The employer must give an eligible employee at least 3 days to provide the employer with documentation. Minimum Wage • There is a rebuttable presumption that an In early December 2018 the legislature passed an employer is in compliance with this act. amendment to push the minimum wage increase out Continued on page 16 TEE-OFF TIMES



Legislative Bulletin by TOM SCHWARK, Owner of Sycamore Hills Golf Course in Macomb

Michigan’s Republicans Protect Small Business

There have been many ballot proposals in Michigan in the last few elections. Most of them have been very liberal. The reason for this is because Michigan had a republican governor, house, and senate. The liberals were not going to be able to make any progress through legislation, but getting the liberal proposals on the ballot was a very easy process in Michigan. It also had the additional benefit of bringing out more democratic voters. Ballot proposals were designed to be grass roots efforts to make laws in Michigan by and for the people. However, Michigan had become a hotbed for liberal interests to come in with paid signature collectors and gather signatures in the two most liberal counties in Michigan, Wayne and Kent counties. The legislative bodies changed the ballot proposal process by requiring that no more than 15% of the required signatures come from any of the 14 congressional districts in Michigan. Governor Snyder also signed this bill. I believe this change in the ballot proposal process will make it much more difficult to get liberal ballot proposals on the election ballot in the future which is very important to the health of the golf industry and small business.

The republican party in Michigan came to the aid of small business, and the golf industry, big time during the lame duck session of 2018 and I, for one, am very grateful. Liberal interests gathered enough signatures in Wayne and Kent counties to put two ballot proposals on last fall’s election ballot. The Fair Wage proposal would have increased the minimum wage to $12/hour by 2022, and eliminated the wage tip credit by 2024. This would have been devastating to the golf industry and the food and beverage industry. Most professional waiters and waitresses were also against this proposal because they realize they make more money than that with their tips. The other proposal was the Paid Sick Leave proposal that would have required employers to give employees an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they worked. Employees could take this leave time whenever they wanted and for any reason, pretty much, including their friend having a hangover. They wouldn’t have to plan ahead, they could just take the day off. The ballot proposal was more liberal than California’s Paid Sick Leave Act. This, too, would have been devastating to many small business’s in Michigan. For example, day care providers must have a certain ratio of employees to children. If an employee didn’t show up, the day care provider would have to send a certain number of children home. Michigan’s Constitution allows the You are invited and legislative bodies to adopt these proencouraged to attend posals as law, and then allows them to amend the proposals which they did. Michigan’s “Golf on The Fair Wage Act adopted the $12/ the Lawn” annual hour minimum wage, but extended the legislative day event. full increase until 2030 by increasing it Please watch your in smaller increments. It also kept intact the wage tip credit. The legislative email for upcoming bodies also passed the Paid Sick Leave information and Act, but amended it so it only affected registration. companies with over 50 employees and reduced paid sick leave from 72 hours per year to 40 hours per year. Governor Snyder signed both of these bills.


“Golf on the Lawn” Legislative Day





Continued from page 14

the advice of human resources and legal counsel.

Recreational Marijuana In December 2018, adult recreational marijuana became legal. But what does this mean for business owners? Faced with a tight labor market, those employers with zero-tolerance policies are faced with whether or not to continue that policy or treat it like alcohol use, i.e. do not come to work under the influence. Whatever the employer decides, the law is clear: • Employers may maintain a drug-free workplace. • Employers are under no obligation to accommodate marijuana use by employees. • Employers can consider whether or not to drugtest for marijuana. What’s the next step? Have a clear workplace policy in place and communicate with your employees. Understand the laws as it pertains to employers and employees. And when in doubt seek


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The Small Business Association of Michigan is your resource to navigating issues like paid sick leave and marijuana in the workplace. From advocacy to benefits, our entire team works to make the life of Michigan small business owners easier. Visit to learn more on these issues and others that arise. SBAM Premium and VIP members also have access to our free Ask An Expert hotline. To maximize the golf season, may your spring come early and the fall come late. I hope for rains only at night and sunshine all day.

Visit and check out the education and services available to members. You are a member of SBAM when you are a member of MGCA.

Michigan Golf Course Association members receive National accolades NGCOA was honored to announce the winners of the association’s annual awards. Each year the NGCOA recognizes the most outstanding members of the past year, and the individuals and organizations that have helped preserve the tradition of the game while embracing the challenges and opportunities of the golf business. “This year we are honored some golf industry giants,“ said Jay Karen, NGCOA’s Chief Executive Officer. “In addition, we are excited to recognize some unsung people who have done giant things for golf. The awards ceremony is always NGCOA’s finest hour of the year.” 16

National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) honored The Heather course at Boyne Highlands Resort with 2019 NGCOA Course of the Year. The National Course of the Year Award recognizes a golf course that epitomizes exceptional course quality and management excellence, makes important contributions to its communities and the game, and is a model of operations to its peers. National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) also honored Kathy Aznavorian, Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center with the 2019 Don Rossi Award. The Don Rossi Award is given for significant and long-lasting contribution to the NGCOA.

Golf USA Tee Time Coalition

Developed tools for responsible management and protection of customer data The Golf USA Tee Time Coalition is responding to recent data security, privacy and permission issues faced by many in the golf industry by developing tools that golf course owners, operators and PGA professionals can use to understand the legal implications of collecting customer data, and learn how to manage and protect this data from misuse by unauthorized third parties.

ed to make reasonable efforts to keep that data safe, but also to be transparent about the collection, use, sale, license, assignment transfer and disclosure of the information collected. The Response The Golf USA Tee Time Coalition has developed a set of materials that 1) define the issue, including the responsibility courses have in collecting and securing customer data, 2) outline best practices in email marketing and implementing a comprehensive privacy policy, and 3) offer a sample privacy policy.

The issue When golf courses use golf management systems and other digital marketing tools, customers’ personal information may be stored in the golf course’s tee sheet or point-of-sale system; that information could be made available to the software provider. By collecting customer data, whether directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly, the golf course is not only expect-

Visit or contact Jared Williams, J.D., Managing DirectorGolf USA Tee Time Coalition jwilliams@

Government, Golf and Grayling

Continued from page 3

Grayling This is purely personal. As I write this Geri and I are on the west coast visiting our daughter. Her husband is in the Army. His service took them to Okinawa for 3 years where they had 2 boys born in the Naval Hospital there. They have now been stationed on the west coast for a year and have added a beautiful little girl to the family. He now has been gone 2 of the last 3 months receiving special training and sometime this year he will be deployed to Afghanistan for who knows how long leaving his wife and 3 young children behind. This story is not unique to my family, I’m

sure it happens to thousands of our servicemembers families every year. Our greens superintendent’s son has left his family for 4 deployments to the Middle East. Makes all this crap going on in the country a lot harder to take. Bottom line, thank a soldier when you see one. Their sacrifice is greater than we realize. Thank a veteran because they have been there. And do what you can to support groups like Folds of Honor to name one, Honor Flight for another. Maybe host a fundraising outing for them. Its the least we can do. And to any veterans that may read this, my families deepest heartfelt Thank You. 17

Bob and Geri Koutnik with grandsons Henry and Joey.






Golf League Network League Course of the Year Congratulations to Pat Howard and Saskatoon join the fastest growing player development proGolf Club for winning the 2018 Golf League Net- gram contact Jason Snow at 616-457-9581 x927 to work “League Course of the Year” award. A partici- join the Golf League Network. pant since the first year League Courses were recognized (2010); Saskatoon was an early adopter of the Golf League Network. This is the second year in a row that Saskatoon has won this award that recognizes a golf course for their outstanding service to league golfers. They were the perfect example of a course with an active and engaging group of outside league administrators. Those admins used the GLN to a fuller extent than most by taking advantage of many of the features within the system, which is a primary objective of the GLN League Course offering.  This leads to the question, can they make it three in a row or will another course take them down?  We’ll see! Saskatoon owners and operators celebrate their success. And for information on how you can




MGCA Members - Thank You for your business this summer. We look forward to DRIVING beverage profit FORE! you, next season! Not selling Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola zero sugar, Dasani, Smartwater, Powerade, Vitaminwater, Gold Peak Tea, Minute Maid Juices, Core Power or Monster? Call Derek Woelke @ 734-502-5649, to have our local Market Development Manager contact you to help you increase your total profit. TEE-OFF TIMES



Why so many managers have poor listener syndrome The same qualities that describe a good listener, describe a good leader: respect, concern, an openness to new ideas, empathy, compassion, curiosity, trust, loyalty, and receptivity. However, one of the lowest rated behaviors in 360-feedback surveys for managers is listening. Once the reason is identified for the poor listening, it can be solved for. Here are some of the most common culprits: 1. They don’t know they are poor listeners – Often times they just don’t realize they are not listening. They intend to listen and think they are listening. How to fix it:  Ask for feedback. Managers should always be asking their staff for direct feedback. Otherwise, they are likely to cruise along thinking everything is fine. 2. They don’t know how to listen – While their intentions may

be good, if they are not displaying behaviors that indicate good listening they will be perceived as a bad listener. How to fix it: Make leaders aware of behaviors that indicate good listening skills: Making eye contact, Head nodding, An open posture, Leaning forward, Arms uncrossed. Using encouraging phrases such as “go on”, “tell me more”, etc. Asking clarifying questions. Not interrupting. 3. They are impatient, smart, or easily distracted – Highly successful, intelligent, type A leaders often have a hard time slowing down and taking the time to listen. They’ll often try to finish someone else’s sentence, use gestures to speed the conversation along, or begin to drift from the conversation. They’ll often check their

By Heather Nezich, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

phone while being spoken to. How to fix it:  Managers should be trained to shut the door, turn off the phone, and give 100% of their focus to the person speaking to them. This is common courtesy, and all employees should be encouraged to do this. 4. They listen selectively – Often times managers already think they know everything and simply choose not to listen to their employees.    This is the most common reported problem on 360-feedback reviews.  Employees report that the manager listens to superiors but not direct reports. How to fix it: Remind managers that their employees are the ones in the trenches doing the work.  Their feedback is invaluable. A good manager realizes that their department will succeed only when functioning as a team.

National Golf Day set for May 1st in Washington DC WE ARE GOLF – a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners –announced the 12th annual National Golf Day will be held Wednesday, May 1 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. National Golf Day celebrates the game’s $84.1 billion economy, nearly $4 billion annual charitable impact and many environmental and fitness benefits. Industry leaders will meet with Members of Congress, the Executive Branch and federal agencies to discuss golf’s 15,000 diverse businesses, two million jobs impacted, tax revenue creation and tourism value. “Golf plays a substantial role in stimulating the American economy, as the industry impacts $58.7 billion in annual wage income,” says Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation, administrator of WE ARE GOLF. “In addition to the nearly 24 million


National Golf Day MAY 1

U.S. golfers, a record-high 14.9 million are ‘very interested’ in playing the game, further cementing why it is vital to advocate on behalf of golf’s interests with our country’s lawmakers.” To join the conversation, use #NationalGolfDay and tag @wearegolf on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to show your support for the golf industry. To attend, visit and click on #NationalGolfDay. 21



Golf Courses are getting sued for their website by BAY PAUL, CEO, CourseLogix - Leader in Golf Course Website Design ( dustry adopted standards that courts are relying on. The accepted standard for website accessibility is defined in the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines and on June 5th 2018, The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released WCAG 2.1. Here is a tool that will assist you in ensuring your site meets current accessibility requirement. You can paste your site’s URL into the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool: Once you have run your website URL through the wave tool, notify your website provider to take appropriate action before it’s too late. Please note, website providers are not liable for ADA compliance and the golf course is responsible. Don’t forget to test your online booking engine also.

Earlier this year, the Federal Government expanded on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance rules to include public websites such as retail stores, resorts, golf courses, and many other places of business. Basically the same rules that apply to wheel chair ramps and wheel chair accessibility bathrooms at your golf course now apply to your website. There have been lawsuits filed against golf courses recently. The NGCOA and the Tee Time Coalition have already started informing golf software technology providers and some golf courses about this news. Attorneys are targeting golf courses because the perception is that golf course owners are wealthy. While the ADA regulations do not provide clear and specific guidelines for web developers, there are in-

The Current State of Website ADA Compliance Due to the increase in ADA website accessibility lawsuits and negative media coverage about them, the U.S. House of Representatives, by a 225-195 vote, passed legislation in February 2018, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, that would have amended the ADA to force prospective plaintiffs to first provide written notice of noncompliance to public accommodations – such as businesses operating public websites – before filing suit. The company would then have 60 days to come up with a plan to address the plaintiff’s concerns. However, that bill stalled in the Senate, where 43 Senators – enough to filibuster the bill – pledged in writing to block a vote on the Act. Therefore, it is unlikely to become law anytime soon, especially given the results of the midterm elections.

Member Savings Fellow golf course owners and operators, while being a member of the state’s golf business association is important for many reasons, here are some to put right into your pocket. I have been a member of the MGCA for decades and the benefits are real and tangible. The modest membership dues expense covers both the Michigan GCA and the National Golf Course Owners Association. Our MGCA staff works hard to bring real value to our members, value that you can put in the bank. Here is how it works for us at Scott Lake Country Club (Comstock Park):

Coca Cola Rebate $432 Entegra Rebate $268 VGM Club Rebate $2,436 MI Clubs Fund $892

Final Thoughts A lot happened in 2018 in the world of web accessibility, and we predict that 2019 will follow suit. We were told by the NGCOA that taking action to at least make your site the most ADA compliant as possible helps when facing litigation.

Total $ Savings & Rebates over $4,028 per year!!!

Resources: NGCOA Tee Time Coalition

Jeff Hoag Scott Lake Country Club




ServSafe family of products for MGCA members The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) is honored to be a partner program of the Michigan Golf Course Association and provide the gold standard ServSafe training line to its members. The ServSafe family of products are designed to protect the hospitality industry, by keeping our consumers and employees safe. Some of the ServSafe products can be completed online, others require an in-person examination and the MRLA offers classes all over the state including Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Livonia, Kalamazoo, Traverse City, and Warren. As a member of the MGCA you will receive discounted pricing on all the ServSafe offerings. ServSafe Food Safety Manager Certification is the top of the line training program nationa wide for food safety.  Michigan law was passed in 2007 and has been enforced since 2010 that every food service establishment should have one certified food safety manager overseeing the operation.  The program is nationally recognized, and the food safety manager needs to recertify every five years.  ServSafe manager text books are available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.  ServSafe Allergen, since January 17, 2017 all Food Safety Managers have been required to also take an approved allergen course. The ServSafe allergen course meets every requirement of the law and can be done 100% online. This course is very interactive and comprehensive in covering both front of the house and back of the house instruction.   Food Service establishments are also required to display a Big 8 Allergen Awareness Poster these can be downloaded free of charge at www. in seven different languages.   ServSafe Responsible Alcohol Server training is key to protecting your club house. The ServSafe Alcohol program can be done online or in person for groups of 10 or more. The ServSafe brand is made for on-premise alcohol services and addresses the hard issues like stopping service to customers. Michigan law, since 1998 requires a minimum of one manager with responsible alcohol server training for all hours of operation, but check your transfer order from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, sometimes they require more. The MRLA will bring our experienced trainers to your business for

groups of 10 or more and there are extra discounts if you have a group of more than 20. Call today to get your training in before the Spring opening. ServSafe Food Handler is a miniature version of ServSafe Manager and an excellent overview of food safety. This program was designed to highlight the five key principals of food safety as defined by the FDA and CDC.  If you are getting ready to hire new seasonal staff, the food handler program is a cost-effective way of establishing some base line knowledge. ServSafe Food Handler can be done in person or online with materials available in both English and Spanish.  The MRLA also has free online food handler codes for business operating in Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb Counties.  

ServSafe Workplace is our newest product launched in 2018 and was designed to prevent sexual harassment in the hospitality industry. This program is 100% online and there are four different courses available:  food service manager, food service employee, hotel manager, and hotel employee.   Prevention is key and this course will help to reinforce your company’s policies.  For more information on the ServSafe product line please visit our website at servsafe or contact Heidi Hiner, or 800-968-9668. The MRLA is looking forward to helping all of you prepare for a safe and profitable 2019 golf season. 23




Fair Billing No Auto Renewal Simple invoicing

Experience the Purple Advantage A family business since 1933, offers the widest selection of linen to the food and beverage markets in Michigan. TEE-OFF TIMES SPRING 2019

Contact us




Napkins and Tablecloths Round Tablecloths Aprons and Towels Apparel Custom Embroidery Entrance/Logo Mats Facility Hygiene Services

MGCA Thanks Golden Passbook Courses If it weren’t for the support of our Golden Passbook to Golf Courses, we couldn’t do what we do. The Golden Passbook is the only discount type golf book in the State of Michigan that directly funds the promotion, education and advocacy for the industry’s owners and operators. This is the 17th year for the Golden Passbook from the Michigan Golf Course Association. The Board of Directors of the Michigan Golf Course Association thanks these businesses for their support by providing rounds for our 2019 book. Michaywe - The Pines, Gaylord Moose Ridge Golf Club, South Lyon Oak Lane Golf Course, Webberville Old Channel Trail Golf Course, Montague Pohlcat Golf Club, Mt. Pleasant Raisin Valley Golf Club, Tecumseh Ravines Golf Club, Saugatuck Red Hawk Golf Club, East Tawas Riverside Golf Club, Battle Creek Riverwood Golf Course, Mt. Pleasant Salem Hills Golf Course, Northville Sandy Ridge Golf Course, Midland Saskatoon Golf Club, Alto Scenic Golf & Country Club, Pigeon Scott Lake Golf & Practice Center, Comstock Park Shanty Creek Resort, Bellaire Sugar Loaf Golf Course, Cedar Sundance Golf Club, Kewadin Swan Valley Golf Course, Saginaw Sycamore Hills Golf Club, Macomb The Emerald Golf Course, St Johns The Fortress, Frankenmuth The Inn at St. John’s, Plymouth The Jewel Golf Course, Mackinac Island The Legacy at Hastings, Hastings The Medalist Golf Club, Marshall The Quest, Houghton Lake The Rock Golf Course, Drummond Island Thornapple Pointe Golf Club, Grand Rapids Thunder Bay Golf Resort, Hillman Timber Ridge Golf Club, East Lansing Timber Trace Golf Club, Pinckney Treetops Resort, Gaylord Ubly Heights Country Club, Ubly Verona Hills Golf Club, Bad Axe Westwynd Golf Course, Rochester Hills Whispering Pines Golf Club, Pinckney Woodside Golf Course, Lansing

A-GA-Ming Golf Course, Kewadin Antrim Dells Golf Club, Ellsworth Boulder Pointe Golf Club, Oxford Boyne U S A Resorts, Boyne Falls Branson Bay Golf Course, Mason Bucks Run Golf Club, Mt. Pleasant Cedar Creek Golf Course, Battle Creek Charlevoix Golf and Fitness, Charlevoix Chemung Hills, Chelsea Chisholm Hills Golf Club, Lansing Clearbrook Golf Club & Restaurant, Saugatuck College Fields Golf Club, Okemos Concord Hills Golf Course, Concord Crooked Creek Golf Course, Saginaw Crystal Mountain Resort, Thompsonville Eagle Eye Golf Course, Bath Eldorado Golf Course, Mason Eldorado Golf Course, Cadillac Fenton Farms Golf Club, Fenton Fox Hills Golf Club, Plymouth Fox Run Country Club, Grayling George Young Recreation Complex, Iron River Glenbrier Golf Course, Perry Glenkerry Golf Course, Greenville Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, Acme Gull Lake View Golf , Augusta Hawk Hollow Golf Course, Bath Township Hemlock Golf Club, Ludington Hidden River Golf & Casting Club, Brutus Indian Lake Hills Golf, Eau Claire Indian Run Golf Course, Scotts Island Hills Golf Club, Sturgis Lake Forest Golf Club, Ann Arbor Legacy by Arthur Hills Golf Club, Ottawa Lake Lynx GC, Otsego Majestic at Lake Walden, Hartland Manistee National Golf & Resort, Manistee Maple Leaf Golf Course, Linwood Meridian Sun Golf Club, Haslett 25



Real Money

Association Initiatives

• Michigan Clubs Fund dividends workers compensation program could save you 40-50% • Entegra Procurement Services saves you 7% to 10% plus quarterly rebates • Coca Cola has discounts and rebates • Club Car/ US Golf Cars saves you hundreds, if not thousands on golf cars • VGM Club membership is reduced by up to $250 annually • MGCA pays your $195 membership into the Small Business Association of Michigan • TORO/Spartan distributors saves you hundreds, if not thousands on equipment • NGCOA Smart Buy Program savings • Deep discounts for members at • Up to $400 Direct TV Savings (or MORE when converting from another provider) • Yamaha Golf Cart rebates • Credit Card Processing will save significant $$ and hassle • MGCA pays for your membership in the NGCOA

• Create, produce and promote the Golden Passbooks to Michigan Golf to fund the association’s legislative advocacy • Always striving to educate the golf operator to ensure their business grows through the Educational Support Foundation • MGCA represents approximately 1/3 of all golf courses in Michigan • Created strategic partnerships with SBAM, NGCOA and VGM Club so members will be able to maximize their membership investments • Partnered with 5 other state/regional golf owner/operator association to create the Norther Golf Ailliance for the purpose of securing deep discounts and benefits for our members

Resources • “Guide to a Successful Golf Outing” booklet is available for members to attract and retain outing business. • “Tee Off Times” quarterly newsletter • Bi-Monthly enews to members on new opportunities, education, information • Michigan Golf Business Conference and Vendor Fair • Education Programs, Events and Webinars • Golf Outing and Supplier Field Day • We are your golf business call center

Golfer Retention and Promotion •, an internet based golf league management system through (GLN) • available FREE to all Golf League Network courses • Golf League Championship for GLN golfers • Player Development Leadership grant ($1,500) for programs focused on golfer retention and promotion • Golden Passbooks to Golf bring new golfers to participants facilities • John Dodge Carpe Diem Award ($1,000) annual grant available to members’ staff for creative and innovative business enhancement

To join visit and click on



Legislative Action • Lobby for Michigan Golf Industry • Manage the Michigan Golf Alliance, a collaboration of Michigan golf associations • Bi-Weekly legislative newsletters • Has a seat on the Michigan Water Task Force • Attends legislative meetings and monitors, evaluates and fights for the Michigan Golf Industry at the Capitol • Brochure of Golf Industry economic impact

1005 Abbot Road Suite A East Lansing, MI 48823 26

(517) 482-4312 800-860-8575 112118

Michigan Golf Course Association Membership Application Business/Golf Course Name _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Contact ____________________________________________________________

Title ________________________________________________

Address ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ City _____________________________________________________________

State ____________________

( ) Telephone _____________________________________________________

( ) Fax _____________________________________________________

Toll Free __________________________________________________

Zip ________________________

(required) e-mail ________________________________________________________

Web Site www. ________________________________________________________________________________

Number of Holes ________________

Please check the category that applies. All golf course memberships include membership in the National Golf Course Owners Association and the Small Business Association of Michigan and are open to owners and operators of privately held golf courses (both public and private), lessors of golf facilities who operate on a for-profit basis and courses owned or operated by resorts in conjunction with real estate developments. Annual dues investment is based on your size of operation.



Daily Fee

9 holes ................................$175.00

18 holes.........................$350.00


27 holes...............................$450.00

36 holes.........................$450.00


45 holes...............................$575.00

54 holes.........................$575.00


63 holes...............................$575.00

Multiple Courses . ........$575.00


Management Companies... $575.00

Note: Membership dues are not deductible as a charitable contribution. However, your dues may be deductible as an “ordinary and necessary” business expense with the exception of 35% which is not deductible as it relates to our lobbying and legislative expenditures. Pay - click on the “membership” link at the top of the page.

Payment Method Check Enclosed

VISA, MC, Amex or Discover

Account # ___________________________________________________________________

Exp. Date ____________________________

Name on Card _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Signature ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Complete the credit card information or make check payable to MGCA and send to: Michigan Golf Course Association 1005 Abbot, Suite A, East Lansing, MI 48823 Phone: (517) 482-4312 Toll Free: (800) 860-8575 Fax: (517) 267-8984 website: e-mail: 27


082118 SPRING 2019

Tee-Off Times


1005 Abbot Road Suite A East Lansing, MI 48823 (517) 482-4312

Address Service Requested

Tee-Off Times is published by the Michigan Golf Course Association, editor – Kate Moore. MGCA offices are located at 1005 Abbot Road, Suite A, East Lansing, MI 48823. Phone (517) 482-4312, Fax (517) 267-8984. Articles written by outside authors do not necessarily reflect the view or position of the MGCA. MGCA’s position on key issues will be clearly stated. Manuscripts are accepted at the approval of the editor who reserves the right to reject or edit. Appearance in the Tee-Off Times does not constitute endorsement of the advertiser, its products or services, not does Tee-Off Times make any claims or guarantees as to the accuracy or validity of the advertiser’s offer and reserves the right to reject any advertising deemed unsuitable. Advertising rates and other information available upon request.

We’re supplying all your golf course needs.

487 West Division Street Sparta, MI 49345

1050 North Opdyke Road Auburn Hills, MI 48326


Profile for Michigan Golf Course Association

Spring 2019 Tee-Off Times  

The Spring 2019 issue of the Michigan Golf Course Association's Tee-Off Times publication.

Spring 2019 Tee-Off Times  

The Spring 2019 issue of the Michigan Golf Course Association's Tee-Off Times publication.

Profile for mgcoa